Can We Make Wind Power Compatible with Wildlife?
This story is a case study on wind energy and bats in Hawaii that communicates the impact and value of USGS science to people and the environment.See the story
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Deepwater habitats, such as the Great Lakes, are a key strategic resource and driver of economic vitality that are threatened by multiple stressors, including overfishing, invasions of exotic species, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and harmful algal blooms. Under the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, the Department of Interior is responsible for conducting a...
USGS studies the ecology and biodiversity of streams, rivers, and aquatic ecosystems to understand impacts of changing land and water use on fish and other aquatic communities. We research their habitats and develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish communities.
Sylvatic plague is a flea-borne bacterial disease of wild rodents. Humans, pets, and wildlife can be afflicted with this disease. Prairie dogs are highly susceptible to plague and are the primary food source of the highly endangered black-footed ferret, which is also susceptible to the disease. Sylvatic plague can decimate prairie dog colonies (90% or greater mortality rates), resulting in...
The long-term viability of monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly populations in North America is in doubt.
Coral disease is now one of the major causes of reef degradation and coral mortality. First reported on reefs in the Florida Keys and Caribbean in the 1970s, black band disease was first recorded in Hawaii in 1994.
Sea stars are dying off at dramatic rates across the West Coast from Baja California in Mexico to Alaska. The wasting disease that is affecting sea stars also is not specific to one species: more than 20 sea star species have been affected so far.
The Missouri River system is the life-blood of the American Midwest providing water resources that drive agriculture, industry, hydroelectric power generation, and ecosystems. However, the Missouri River Basin (MRB) (Figure 1) is the only major river in the western U.S. for which hydrologic reconstructions from tree rings have not been generated in any systematic way. This knowledge gap is...
The biggest natural resource management challenges include competing views of the value and uses of those resources in society. Patuxent scientists develop methods to manage resources given those competing views under a “structured decision making” (SDM) framework. Our scientists both practice and train others in key SDM skills, such as model development and monitoring design.
The spread of invasive aquatic vegetation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is having a profound impact on the Delta’s natural habitat. The presence of these “aquatic weeds” has been shown to alter water velocity and increase water clarity, posing threats to native fish species, specifically the threatened Delta Smelt. These aquatic plants can also affect the foodweb by altering nutrient,...
The Challenge: Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick-transmitted spirochete, is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases each year. Most cases occur in the northeastern and north central U.S., with relatively few in the south, even though the vector tick is present in all of these regions. The purpose of this research is to elucidate the ecological...
The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...
North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)
The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.
Landscape intactness has been defined as a quantifiable estimate of naturalness measured on a gradient of anthropogenic influence. We developed a multiscale index of landscape intactness for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) landscape approach, which requires multiple scales of information to quantify the cumulative effects of land use.
Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.
The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous (i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.
Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011
This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.
These data provide the locational coordinates, soil texture characteristics, plant species occurrence and cover, and vegetation summary characteristics for the Tsezhin bii region in the south-central area of the Navajo Nation.
The Dam Removal Information Portal is a Web site that serves information about the scientific studies associated with dam-removal projects. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and...
This public folder contains approved data release products produced by the USGS Western Ecologial Research Center. This folder also includes metadata that will be harvested and displayed by the USGS Science Data Catalog ( http://data.usgs.gov/datacatalog) to improve access and discovery.
The survey was conducted in summer 2002 to assess the presence of terrapins in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Results are spatial locations of evidence related to nesting.
This video describes a statistical software package called "Evidence of Absence" that can be used to provide evidence of compliance with incidental take permits. It will be useful to wildlife managers and wind energy operators to estimate, with reasonable certainty, that a certain number of birds or bats have been killed at wind energy facilities, even when no carcasses are found.
South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) was established to provide coherent information access in support of research, decision-making, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.
The interactive sea-level rise visualization tool results from a collaborative effort between NOAA's Coastal Services Center, USGS WARC, and USGS Mississippi Water Science Center. The tool illustrates the scale of potential flooding, but not the exact location, and does not account for erosion, subsidence, sediment accretion, or future construction.
Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods
We described past and present distribution and abundance data to evaluate the status of the endangered Mariana Swiftlet (Aerodramus bartschi), a little-known echolocating cave swiftlet that currently inhabits 3 of 5 formerly occupied islands in the Mariana archipelago. We then evaluated the survey methods used to attain these estimates via...Johnson, Nathan C.; Haig, Susan M.; Mosher, Stephen M.
Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia Spotted Frog abundance
Livestock grazing is an important land use in the western USA and can have positive or negative effects on amphibians. Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) often use ponds that provide water for cattle. We conducted a long-term manipulative study on US Forest Service land in northeastern Oregon to determine the effects of full and partial...Adams, Michael J.; Pearl, Christopher; Chambert, Thierry; Mccreary, Brome; Galvan, Stephanie; Rowe, Jennifer
Improving estimation of flight altitude in wildlife telemetry studies
Altitude measurements from wildlife tracking devices, combined with elevation data, are commonly used to estimate the flight altitude of volant animals. However, these data often include measurement error. Understanding this error may improve estimation of flight altitude and benefit applied ecology.There are a number of different approaches that...Poessel, Sharon; Duerr, Adam E.; Hall, Jonathan C.; Braham, Melissa A.; Katzner, Todd
Greater sage-grouse science (2015–17)—Synthesis and potential management implications
Executive SummaryThe greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter called “sage-grouse”), a species that requires sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), has experienced range-wide declines in its distribution and abundance. These declines have prompted substantial research and management investments to improve the understanding of sage-grouse and...Hanser, Steven E.; Deibert, Patricia A.; Tull, John C.; Carr, Natasha B.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Bargsten, Travis D.; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Coates, Peter S.; Crist, Michele R.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Ellsworth, Ethan A.; Foster, Lee J.; Herren, Vicki A.; Miller, Kevin H.; Moser, Ann; Naeve, Robin M.; Prentice, Karen L.; Remington, Thomas E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Truex, Richard L.; Wiechman , Lief A. ; Wilson, Dereck C.; Bowen, Zachary H.
Mercury concentrations in multiple tissues of Kittlitz's murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris)
Mercury (Hg) is a non-essential, toxic metal that is distributed worldwide. Mercury biomagnifies in food webs and can threaten the health of top predators such as seabirds. The Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a seabird endemic to Alaska and the Russian Far East and is a species of conservation concern in the region. We...Kenney, Leah A.; Kaler, Robb S.; Kissling, Michelle L.; Bond, Alexander L.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.
Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands
Conservation and management for a species requires reliable information on its status, distribution, and habitat use. We identified occupancy and distributions of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (R. crepitans) rail populations in marsh complexes along the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers in Virginia, USA by modeling data on vocalizations recorded...Stiffler, Lydia L.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd
Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change
Environmental mercury (Hg) contamination is an urgent global health threat. The complexity of Hg in the environment can hinder accurate determination of ecological and human health risks, particularly within the context of the rapid global changes that are altering many ecological processes, socioeconomic patterns, and other factors like...Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Silbergeld, Ellen K.; Basu, Niladri; Bustamante, Paco; Diaz-Barriga, Fernando; Hopkins, William A.; Kidd, Karen A.; Nyland, Jennifer F.
Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought: Prospects for conservation in changing environments
We used a broad-scale sampling design to investigate spatial patterns in occupancy and breeding success of territorial pairs of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Diablo Range, California, USA, during a period of exceptional drought (2014–2016). We surveyed 138 randomly selected sample sites over 4 occasions each year and identified 199...Wiens, David; Kolar, Patrick; Hunt, W. Grainger; Hunt, Teresa; Fuller, Mark R.; Bell, Douglas A.
Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA
Poor condition of many streams and concerns about future droughts in the arid and semi-arid western USA have motivated novel restoration strategies aimed at accelerating recovery and increasing water resources. Translocation of beavers into formerly occupied habitats, restoration activities encouraging beaver recolonization, and instream...Pilliod, David S.; Rohde, Ashley T.; Charnley, Susan; Davee, Rachael R; Dunham, Jason B.; Gosnell, Hannah; Grant, Gordon E.; Hausner, Mark B.; Huntington, Justin L.; Nash, Caroline
The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper
Little is known about how important social behaviors such as song vary within and among populations for any of the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers. Habitat loss and non‐native diseases (e.g., avian malaria) have resulted in isolation and fragmentation of Hawaiian honeycreepers within primarily high elevation forests. In this study, we examined how...Pang-Ching, Joshua M.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Paxton, Eben H.; Pack, Adam A.; Hart, Patrick J.
Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy
In Autumn 2015, USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) staff implemented new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data-management policies intended to ensure that the results of Federally funded research are made available to the public. The effort aimed both to improve USA-NPN data releases and to provide a model for similar programs within the USGS....Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Langseth, Madison L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington
With the decline of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), habitat restoration actions in freshwater tributaries have been implemented to improve conditions for juveniles. Typically, physical (for example, hydrologic and engineering) based models are used to design restoration alternatives with the assumption that...Benjamin, Joseph R.; Bellmore, J. Ryan; Dombroski, Daniel
Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers. Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public.
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers. Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public. ...
This southeastern bat (Myotis austroriparius) from Alabama shows signs of infection from the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center later confirmed white-nose syndrome in this animal, marking the first time that WNS was found in a southeastern bat. As of June 2017, the species joins eight other hibernating bat...
Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to hatch. At hatch,...
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)
This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)
The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.
Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other...
It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once considered manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname – the “Sea Cow” – which comes from the herbivores’ affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way just makes more sense. But a U.S. Geological Survey video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of the magical mermaid to them.
Scavenging birds are at risk of lead poisoning from consuming carcasses of animals killed with lead ammunition. Methods to identify lead exposure typically require capturing an animal to collect a blood sample; however, USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers sought to design a less costly, noninvasive behavioral test to identify lead exposure in California condors.
Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.
Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey: Despite Small Population Dip, Species Moves a Step Closer to Recovery
According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.
Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award
USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.
Science to Support Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Puget Sound
An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.
The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.
The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.